Foresight – A Lesson Learned In The Past

 

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As a man thinks, so is he. As a man thinks of condemnation, so he is condemned. And so it goes with freedom. Peace. Stability. Forgiveness. Love. Encouragement. Abundance. Being 10 steps ahead.

In Christ, we can also say: As Christ loves us, so we love. As Christ sets us free, so we can usher people into the same freedom. As Christ is our peace, so we can be peace to others. As Christ stabilizes us, so we are able to bring others to stability. As Christ encourages us, so we encourage others. As Christ abounds in us, so we abound in others.

I’ll have to think about that last one.

Actually, I’d want to think about the item that ought to come after that. As Christ is 10, no, infinite steps ahead of us, so we can be ahead – what, to others? For others? See, when you think of how you are loved by Christ, it’s not like you’re immediately set up for eternity, much less in the present. No, this everlasting love from an eternal Savior will take nothing short of an eternity for us to fully grasp – in other words, we will never be able to be ahead of it, nor will we ever stop learning about it.

Christ was ahead of us as simply as Paul described it in his epistle to the Romans – While we were yet sinners, He loved us and gave His life for us. That’s right. If we’re to be ahead of other people, we’re actually to give up any ambition behind us getting ahead of other people for selfish reasons, more than it is for the benefit of the people, out of our love for them. And obviously, this sort of pre-emptive thought (and consequent action) is impossible without true love, which comes from nothing – no-ONE else but Christ Jesus. I believe we will only have the opportunity to find pleasure in total servitude to others when we believe how Christ Himself chose to lay down His glory, His splendor, and just ALL of what He had, down to His life…

Well yeah, some say, people will die for you. But think about it, He also cast aside His dignity, being nailed to a cross, His bloody, beaten, naked body in a humiliating pose, reserved only for criminals accused of rebellion against the state, traitors to their own people…

…And all this time, could you imagine Him sneaking in a smirk somewhere in between all the jeers, lashes, punches, kicks and ridicule, simply because through this He was already setting Himself up to be a step ahead, not just ahead of you and me, but in all this, a step ahead of sin, death, and the grave?

And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me?

(Aaron Keyes just revived this song. Listen to it here!)

For the longest time, I always jokingly stated, there were no verses in the Gospels which said anything like, “Then Jesus said, ‘OUCH!’, or, even more formally, “The Roman soldiers slammed the crown of thorns deeper into His temples, and He cried out in pain”… but I never really sat down to ponder on why this was the case…

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It’s been just a little more than 10 years since my brother took my Dad, Mom, and I to Mount Evans, in Colorado. August 24, 2008, to be exact. And my status back then? Well, let me just share that If I say my life today is all over the place, I probably should look back at 2008 me and laugh.

Anyway. I remember it was far to the actual place, and we took some detours along the way, such as Red Rock. Looking back, I wouldn’t say I was totally thrilled with the actual location more than the surrounding mountain scenes. I was more enthusiastic in taking scenes of the rolling hills as best I could from the vantage points I had. Ah, who was I kidding? If there’s still a trace of self-centeredness in my shots today, dear me, I’d invite you to my mind 10 years ago! I remember explicitly how I would point out, more than the beauty of the shot, that I was there! And it was subtle – which made it worse!

I really should pull up my old posts and check them out, eh? To think that I thought I was on a roll with my blogging back then. To think that I thought I was at the pinnacle of my writing ability back then.

Well, enough of that.

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Ahem. What I noticed was, as we went along, and as the day progressed, the scenes just got better and better. From the rolling hills to mountain panoramas, to the actual ascent up the said mountain, through Echo Lake, the Summit and the deer and, finally, to where the road reached its highest point, my 6MP Nikon D40 (with Kit Lens!) was making the most of its battery, as I was taking shot after shot! Never mind that it started raining! Never mind that it was as colder than my Igorot body was used to – at the time, I didn’t care how bad things were because I knew my brother was taking us somewhere awesome, and because of this the trip going there was just so awesome already!

Now, could you just imagine, how Christ could have minded the brutal blows to his human body? Ever think of how He could have made the slightest twitch when the Pharisees started slapping, punching, and insulting Him when He said, plain and simple, that He was the Son of God? Bless Jim Caviezel and his portrayal of the crucified Christ in Mel Gibson’s Passion, but consider the perspective that all these things were absolutely nothing to Him compared to what He knew He was going to accomplish after it all!

Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me?

As we approached the highest point of Mount Evans… the rains turned into sleet, and then, for the first time in my entire life… I saw snow. There I was, my body already half-frozen from the weather, but heart pumping lava from excitement, and the weather just turned it up a notch higher. I just exploded, but at the same time, my mind was just in a state of bliss, extreme excitement expressed in eerie enchantment more than explosive energy (and, apparently, an enthusiasm in alliteration). My dad preferred to stay in the car. My mom was also so pumped that she started dancing as the flurries flurried hard at the top of the mountain. My brother had done it.

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…And Christ, who exclaimed some moments ago that ‘even foxes have their holes, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head…’ The Gospel says that on that same cross, He said, ‘It is finished,’ and then and there He lay His head down, and breathed His last.. (John 19:30)

My Savior had done it. United with Him, our bodies were cast into icy cold death… And at that moment, time and space lose all its meaning. Just like my heart was just blazing like a wildfire, yet still as a candle’s flame… So through Christ’s work, the world was reconciled to God, and He rose again, death defeated and cast out, so we rose, burning but not consumed.

More than my brother planned, and more than he prepared, he had us in mind, and though he could have explained all he could, it was just best for him to take us there…

And so, I see, it is with our Savior. A million billion steps ahead, He lay down His life as a Solution while we were the problem.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  – Hebrews 12:1-2

 

By nothing less than true love, known truly through Christ, who IS Truth… we can afford to do more than adjust… we’re able to think 10 steps ahead.

 

Love is the future.

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